Nikko is a luxurious destination just two hours from Tokyo, where you can enjoy the natural beauty of Nikko National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Nikko Toshogu Shrine, and a rich culture of craft. The Oku-Nikko area in particular, has been a summer resort for European aristocrats since the nineteenth century.
A taste of VIP living
Nikko’s cool summers have long drawn Tokyo’s elite residents to the area, and some of their luxurious former accommodations are open to visit. At Nikko Tamozawa Imperial Villa Memorial Park, you can see the villas used by the imperial family and their retinue in the nineteenth century.
The former villa of the Italian ambassador was built in 1928, using local materials such as Nikko cedar. The Italian Embassy House Memorial Park is open to visitors each year between April and November. A cafe on the first floor serves refreshments with a view of the lake. A few minutes away is the British Embassy Villa Memorial Park, also open to visitors between April and November. A private villa was built in 1896 for a British diplomat and later renovated as a retreat for embassy staff. The British tea room serves authentic English tea and scones, supervised by the chef of the British Embassy in Tokyo.